Speech on behalf of the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Patrice Coeur-Bizot
HE SAID: “On behalf of the UNDP and its partners, I hope this fish market will make a significant difference to improving the lives of the people of Dhanbidhoo, especially the fisherman and fish processors.”
Her Excellency Kathy Klugman, Director of the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resource – Mr. Mohamed Shainee, Island Chief of Dhanbidhoo – Mr. Mohamed Arif and distinguished guests, Good Afternoon.
I am delighted that we are all present here today to witness the handover of the Fish Market to the people of Dhanbidhoo. On behalf of the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Patrice Coeur-Bizot, I would like to convey his appreciation to the people of Dhanbidhoo for the efforts made to reconstruct the island. I would also like to take this opportunity on his behalf, to extend special recognition and gratitude towards the generous support provided by the Australian Government for their partnership in making this achievement possible and also acknowledge the contributions made in many other areas such as support to shelter and the development of the agricultural sector.
The fish market was constructed under the Government’s Fisheries Development Programme for Tsunami Recovery, implemented by the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources and I therefore, would like to thank the Ministry’s team, especially Mr. Shainee and Mr. Shameem for their commitment and cooperation with UNDP in making this a reality today. I would like to extend our assurance that UNDP will look into the the sustainability of the fish market by continuing our work with the Ministry and the people of Dhanbidhoo.
As we all know, Dhanbidhoo is one of the islands that were severely hit by the tsunami. The extent of damage was considerable. Some … houses were damaged, …. houses were entirely destroyed, and the Island’s economy suffered from heavy damage and had to be completely reconstructed. Also, several agricultural fields and trees in the home gardens were washed away. As a result, local and domestic livelihoods received a great setback – and income generation activities were disrupted or severely reduced.
Reconstruction of the island is vital to the social and economic life of the island. In fact, damage to houses and peoples livelihoods had affected the tsunami recovery process by hampering the delivery of reconstruction materials and other assistance. During the last three years, more than 50% of the people in Dhanbidhoo has been engaged in recovery and reconstruction work.
Last year, all the IDPs were able to return to their homes after the repair or reconstruction of their houses was completed. Today, we are celebrating the handover of the fish market to the people of Dhanbidhoo as an effort to re-establish their livelihoods. We hope that this fish market will not only lead to an organized fish processing and marketing process but also will help to produce hygiene fish products and provide new avenues to produce value added products from fish. UNDP has been working with you to create new income generating avenues through our trainings, towards the assurance of this possibility. We are also working with the Care Society to improve agricultural production by providing agricultural materials, a sales centre, a nursery and also trainings.
Today, I would like to emphasize that although the building is called a fish market, it is designed as a multipurpose facility where a shop and café’ are accommodated, to generate an income for the maintenance of the fish market. I hope that the community will start utilizing the fish market today. UNDP ensures the quality of the fish market by granting 6 months towards possible construction faults. Despite this, we hope that the community will give special care in maintaining the building beyond the handover.
Lastly, I would not want to end without recognizing the efforts of the Contractor, Aman Maldives, and all that has been accomplished for you in the island.
In closing, on behalf of the UNDP and its partners, I hope this fish market will make a significant difference to improving the lives of the people of Dhanbidhoo, especially the fisherman and fish processors. I would like to conclude by wishing Dhanbidhoo a safe and prosperous future.
I thank the people of Dhanbidhoo for their interest and hard work put into the Tsunami recovery work. Asalaam Alaikum.
REF: UNDP Maldives website.